Food Rules to Live By

Everyone’s mother had food rules that you lived by (whether you knew it at the time or not).  For instance, SUE! is a steadfast believer in a dinner plate with three different things that are three different colors. (Then again she also thought it was a good idea to feed us Kitty Stew.)

Michael Pollan is an advocate for responsible eating. He’s a writer, James Beard Award winner, and UC Berkeley professor. His Omnivore’s Dilemma outlines the state of the American food system, and the agribusiness that relies so heavily on corn in processed foods. It’s a great read that everyone should have on their book shelf. Wandering through the overstocked aisles of the grocery mega-mart, we’ve all lost touch with where our food comes from.

Pollan is a frequent NYTimes.com contributor, and he recently asked readers to write in their favorite rules about eating well. This week he compiled his favorite 20. I love everyone one of them! They’re witty, memorable, and oh so true. They show how integrated food is in our everyday life, and how we need to remember that. From “You don’t get fat on food you pray over” to “Don’t yuck someone’s yum” to  “It’s better to pay the grocer than the doctor.” Take a few minutes to read through them; reflecting on the nourishment we feed ourselves is always time well spent.

As I was reading through the quotes, it prompted me to come up with a few of my own. Mine aren’t nearly as funny, but they are the rules that I try to live by. Here you go:

  • If it comes packaged in plastic, it’s probably going to taste like plastic.
  • Good taste usually takes longer than 30 minutes to develop.
  • A small amount of one indulgent ingredient can make a dish taste wonderful, while keeping it healthful.
  • Try to break out of your comfort zone and taste something new every time you dine out.
  • Eat dessert when you want, but make sure it’s worth it!

What rules do you live by? Leave a comment! I’ll compile them and post them next week. (The comment button is at the bottom of this post in blue – sorta hidden!)

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Comments: 3

  1. Christy Munding October 16, 2009 at 4:46 pm Reply

    Hello all-

    My name is Christy and I am the daughter of NATALIE! SUE’S! best friend. I say it like this as you can only imagine that SUE! would only pal around with someone that had as much energy as her. SUE! and NATALIE! met in the bathroom at a Couples Club in the 70’s and have been BFF ever since. My mother is a wonderful Italian cook, who grew up in the same generation as SUE! slaving over the hot stove for her accountant husband and 5 children. She is very particular in what she likes and doesn’t like( in both food and other things) and I am just starting to realize how 29 years of her influence has really shaped me. So back to Seattle Palate’s rules to live by here are mine( influenced by NATALIE!) –

    • Be willing to splurge a bit on the quality of food items that you buy, it really does effect the overall taste of what you are making ( i.e she swears by DeCecco pasta as well as specific other brands
    • Everything in moderation- You can eat what you want just don’t overindulge
    • Get to know your produce person that way you get the best pick of what they have
    • You have to have something a little sweet at the end of the meal to tell your tastebuds you are finished eating
    • Take the time to make dinner a family event and not just for the sake of eating a meal

  2. seattlepalate October 26, 2009 at 12:38 pm Reply

    Christy – awesome rules, and I would believe anything NAT! says. She is a fantastic cook! Maybe she can be a guest on Seattle Palate one of these days. I’ll have to get some SUE!/NAT! stories on the site.

  3. Sue October 28, 2009 at 10:51 am Reply

    I am sticking to my guns – 3 colors on every dinner plate. Eating different kinds of foods with different colors provides the variety of nutrients that your body needs. I taught my second graders – stick to the Food Pyramid, eat some of each block and your body will heal itself, have energy, be strong and you’ll be able to see for miles!!!! And besides, it really looks pretty!!!

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